REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR BOTANY 301--Part Two:  Monocots and Evolution.

If you can answer these questions, you should do well on the lecture exams and lab practicals. Remember, though, that exam questions are not limited to what is here. Be prepared to answer in complete sentences and to defend your answers if necessary.  Answers may be found in the course text, your lecture notes, and the laboratory pages.

Choose a topic:

Monocots in General
Monocot Summary
Angiosperm Evolution

Monocots in General

1. Describe three differences between monocots and dicots. Focus on stem anatomy, root structure, seed anatomy, and/or pollen type.


1. Why might you confuse a member of the Alismataceae with something from the Ranunculaceae? How could you tell the two apart?

2. What habitat type is usual for the Alismataceae?


1. Describe the two leaf shapes seen in the Arecaceae.

2. List three economically important palm genera and the products they produce.

3. Give two possible functions of the spathe in the Araceae.

4. True or False-one should be careful about eating any part of an Araceae plant raw.

5. Label the structure below and tell what family it comes from.

6. Describe the vegetative and flowering structure of the world's smallest flowering plants.


1. Members of the Commelinaceae are usually ____________-pollinated, while most other members of the Commelinidae are pollinated by __________________.

2. What is one character shared by the Malvaceae and Commelinaceae?

3. You are being pursued by a man-eating tiger and must hide in the river. You see a grass, a rush, and a sedge. Which will you pick to make a breathing straw out of, and why?

4. Explain the difference between a spikelet in the Poaceae and a spikelet in the Cyperaceae.

5. Give three differences in vegetative characters between a sedge and a rush, and three that will separate grasses from sedges.

6. Give two differences in reproductive characters between the Juncaceae and the Poaceae.

7. Label the structure below. What is the name for this structure as a whole?

8. List six important cereal crops and the genus for each.

9. What nutrients or dietary necessities are provided by each of the following parts of a caryopsis: germ, endosperm, bran? What structure is the germ? What two structures does the bran represent?

10. Does a diet of grains provide complete nutrition? Explain why or why not.


1. What is the bromeliad genus found locally?

2. Describe the habit of many members of the Bromeliaceae. How do they get their water?-give two ways.

3. Describe the fruiting structure of Ananas.


1. Members of the Liliaceae (broad sense) have traditionally been divided into groups based on _________________.

2. List three commercial crops in the genus Allium.

3. What is the term for the two similar perianth whorls found in the Liliaceae?

4. True or false: Wild members of the Liliaceae often produce edible bulbs.

5. What is the term for the leaf arrangement in the Iridaceae?

6. You find a showy-flowered terrestrial monocot with 2 perianth whorls of 3 parts each. The flowers are actinomorphic and the ovary is inferior. What will you look at to determine whether it belongs in the Liliaceae (broad sense) or the Iridaceae?

7. The reproductive organs of an orchid are fused into a structure called the ____________. The pollen is produced in masses called _____________________. The modified lower petal of an orchid flower is called the _____________________.

8. Describe the seeds and germination requirements of terrestrial orchids.

Monocot Summary

1. Which monocot family has the largest seeds? The smallest seeds? The largest plants? The smallest plants? The greatest number of species? The most economically important members?

2. For each of the following families, give one genus other than the type genus: Juncaceae, Cyperaceae, Orchidaceae, Liliaceae, Arecaceae, Araceae.

3. Write a dichotomous key to separate the following families: Alismataceae, Arecaceae, Commelinaceae, Poaceae, Bromeliaceae.

4. Write a dichotomous key to separate the following families: Araceae, Juncaceae, Liliaceae, Iridaceae, Orchidaceae.

Angiosperm Evolution

1. Explain the difference between an apomorphy and a plesiomorphy.

2. Explain the difference between homology and homoplasy.

3. Describe the probable habit and habitat of the earliest angiosperms.

4. What is the evolutionary advantage of the development of a herbaceous habit?

5. Angiosperm evolution can be tied to the evolution of                     and the movement of               over long periods of time.

6. Draw a diagram showing the evolution of the closed carpel. Which angiosperm family often shows style-less, unsealed carpels?

7. True or False: For any set of organisms and characters, there is only one right phylogenetic tree. Explain.

Go to the review for Dicots
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Last updated by M. Reed 1-7-2000